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Machine Learning Engineer

Engineering | Alameda, CA | Full Time

Job Description

About Saildrone

Saildrone designs and manufactures wind and solar-powered autonomous surface vehicles called saildrones, which make cost-effective ocean data collection possible at scale. We are busy building the world's largest high-resolution ocean datasets, working with governments and private companies around the globe. We believe that better inputs in planetary models in turn yield better outputs and that the new insights gained in weather forecasting, carbon cycling, global fishing and climate change will have a tremendous impact on humanity. We are based in Alameda, CA and are backed by Social Capital, The Capricorn Investment Group, Lux Capital and The Schmidt Family Foundation.

About The Role

Saildrone is looking for a Computer Vision / Machine Learning expert to head up our automated vessel detection effort.

Our drone fleet has a good idea of who is out there from their AIS position reports, however, not everyone transmits AIS positions. Those AIS 'silent' targets are much harder to identify. Actors range from small and fast, to slow and large, engaged in activities from narcotics trafficking to Illegal fishing. Identifying targets and their activities is vital to a wide range of commercial and homeland security tasks.

Being a key part of a new AI team at Saildrone, you’ll get to help decide on the hardware, software and algorithmic approaches used. You will be working with an engineering team that has deployed hardware to some of the harshest environments on the planet.

If you have the passion to solve tough, but real-world problems, join us on the adventure at Saildrone.


  • Lead our computer vision/machine learning architecture including algorithms and edge hardware
  • Collect training data & build fast prototypes
  • Work with hardware and software engineers to implement final, production-ready solution
  • Stay on top of evolving techniques and research related to the problem space
  • Help grow the Saildrone AI team


  • Solid experience with Computer Vision or Machine Learning, or both
  • Experience with image recognition in a real-time environment
  • Experience with thermal cameras
  • Exposure to OpenCV or similar computer vision toolkits
  • Exposure to TensorFlow or similar machine learning toolkits
  • One or more projects deployed on production platforms
  • A passion for Saildrone's mission


  • Medical, dental and vision plans for you and your dependents
  • Healthy lunch program provided onsite
  • Active sailing classes: become a certified skipper on boats up to 35ft!
  • Fun team activities including our famous monthly social taxiway BBQ
  • Waterfront office, a former airplane hangar that was once used to film 'The Matrix'
  • Short and relaxing ferry ride from the Ferry Building for SF residents
  • Enhanced paternity/maternity programs
  • Competitive benefits including discounted gym, life insurance, 401k plan

This is an exciting new opportunity to drive your function at a fast-growing post series-A startup at the cutting edge intersection of big data services and autonomous hardware. You will be an integral part of an A+ multi-disciplinary team scaling a high-performance business while delivering high impact for humanity and future generations.

Our waterfront office offers beautiful views over San Francisco Bay in always sunny Alameda. Your commute could be a short and relaxing ferry ride from the Ferry Building. Even our walls have good karma, our offices mixing software development with a hardware production line in the former airplane hangar that was once used to film 'The Matrix'.

You can read what the press says about us:

Inc - The most exciting drones aren't in the air, they are in the oceans
The New York Times - No sailors needed: robot sailboats scour the oceans for data
NOAA - Sailing for scientific success in the Bering Sea
Wired - The drone that will sail itself around the world

Or watch the Saildrone mission being presented the TED stage

Saildrone is an equal opportunity workplace dedicated to pursuing and hiring a diverse workforce.


Any unsolicited resumes/candidate profiles submitted through our website or to personal email accounts of employees of Saildrone are considered the property of Saildrone and are not subject to payment of agency fees.